I bought the Maxi Climber Vertical Climber when I tore my calf muscle running and needed a low-impact way to get my exercise, and let me tell you, it was the best decision I ever made. There are a lot of these types of climbers on the market, but I chose this one for its cost, quality, and because it collapses into something small enough for me to stow away easily. If you’re new to the world of vertical climbers, or not sure what to look for, my review will help you sort it all out.
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The Maxi Vertical Climber: What It Is & Why You Need It
The Maxi Vertical Climber is like a fold-away-gym. To me, it looks like a futuristic ladder, with different pegs for your hands and legs. When you use it, it’s your climbing a mountain, making your whole body work at once. I was a bit skeptical, but a friend who bought one to use in her small apartment told me that it basically replaces the need to go to the gym!
Just drag it out of your closet before you go to work (or after) and climb on. So, I bought one to test, and she was right! It really engages your core and major muscle groups for an intense routine. If you have limited time to exercise, or hate the gym, this machine will transform you. Plus, it is super convenient. You can leave it out, or stow it when you’re not using it.
Key Features and Benefits of the Maxi Climber:
- It’s a full body workout. It is similar to the full-body exercise you might get out of an elliptical machine, it just takes up a lot less space. You’ve got to remember, though, to engage your whole body to get all the benefits. There is a tendency to just hold onto the moving handles and let your arms go for a ride, but if you incorporate pulling and pushing with your arms, it is a more well-rounded workout.
It takes concentration to remember, but keep pushing up with your arms with every step. Sometimes it helps to think about it as your arms assisting your legs rather than the other way around. This is the whole trick to making this a true full-body workout.
- Versatile. Since the Maxi Climber has 4 handles (2 stationary and 2 that move) you have a lot of arm position choices. You can hold the handles overhand or underhand. When pulling with your arms in the overhand position (hands pronated), you’re engaging your shoulders and pectoral muscles more. When using the underhand position (supinated), you’re focusing more on your biceps and triceps. Same goes your feet.
The pedals are about the size of standard bicycle pedals, so there are different parts of your feet you can use. Placing the balls of your feet on the pedals in the “tippy toe” position, focuses a lot of energy on your calves (a great calf strengthener). Standing on your midfoot, or arch, engages the quadriceps (thighs) more. Alternate to get all these benefits and customize your routine.
- Space Saver. I live in a tiny house, so every inch counts, and this climber folds up neatly and slides right into my closet (it’s only 57” tall, and folds up to just about 4” wide). I tried a spinner wheel for my bike, but dragging a bike into your house every time you want to work out kinda defeats the purpose of convenience. The Maxi is just an easy few second to pull out of the closet and open it up.
- Free Exercise Videos. It is easy to get a little complacent working out and watching a show on TV or something, so I recommend finding some videos to follow at first. There are some great vertical climber exercises that people have published on YouTube. Check out Rosalie Brown for starters. I find it helps motivate me to be watching someone else who is guiding me through a series of steps. It’s kind of like going to a spinning class and being surrounded by a bunch of people on spinning cycles – it helps to really get you pumped up!
- Sturdy. Of all of the climbers I have tried, this one felt the sturdiest. Thanks to the steel construction, it didn’t rock, sway, or tip, even when I was going full throttle. And the non-slip base makes it great on rug, tile, or wood.
As far as exercise devices go, this one is a winner (I am a really big fan of the space-saving aspect of it, so I will try not to stress that one too much.)
Pros & Cons
- Maximum Stride height (compared to other climbers)
- Sturdy and collapsible
- Workout timer – the other models on the market don’t seem to have one. You might use it, you might not, but it’s a nice option to have.
- I don’t like the Pedal Texture. Sometimes I would like to just hop on barefoot, but the pedals have a texture that you wouldn’t want to stand on barefoot.
- No resistance. I know you have to spend a lot more to get a climbing machine that adds resistance, but I wish this were a feature.
The Maxi Climber Versus The Merax Vertical Climber
I did check out the Merax Climber before settling on this the Maxi. The Merax does have a higher weight rating than the Maxi Climber, but it does not have as much stride height as the Maxi. I like a wide range of motion when I am climbing, and I could not get my knees up high enough while using the Merax – the pedals hit the stops.
The Merax also takes up more space than the Maxi and is heavier (naturally, since the weight rating is higher). If I was a larger person and had more closet space, I might have picked the Merax.
I have been using the Maxi Vertical Climber among other Vertical Climbers for over a month now and I have definitely noticed a difference in my performance when rock climbing. I don’t get to go bouldering in the winter as often as I do in warmer weather, and this has been a great and inexpensive way to keep in shape for the climbing season. I have heard people asking if the Maxi Climber is a fitness scam – there is really only one answer to a question like this: You get out of it exactly what you put into it! If you hop on the Maxi climber 3 times a week, and work hard and engage your body when you’re on it, then you will see results.